My deep thanks to Rick Reich for filling in for me this past month at the Daily Meditations. And for other members of our team who altered their schedules when times demanded it to keep things going, including Phila Hoopes, Cynthia Greb, and Rosanna Tufts; and, behind the scenes, Dennis Edwards and Ellen Kennedy.
As we continue with our Daily Meditations I will be shortening my meditations slightly and offering one video per week in order to continue to lend time to my book on Chenu.
PÈRE CHENU, MENTOR AND NAMER OF CREATION SPIRITUALITY
The reason for my absence this past month was to focus more on the book I am writing about my mentor and soul-friend, Père M.D. Chenu, OP who named the Creation Spirituality lineage for me.
I remember vividly that day in Paris in Spring, 1968 (the last class he ever taught, for he retired from teaching after that semester) when he told us that there are two spiritual traditions in Christianity: That which begins with the Fall (“la chute”) and that which begins with Creation.
Where one begins makes all the difference—especially if one understands the “Fall” as “Original Sin” which is, as I think I have made evident in my research and writings, not a Biblical concept and indeed contrary to Jewish thinking. As Elie Weisel says, “original sin is not only not in the Bible but it introduces an idea that is contrary to Jewish thinking.”
Thus, my book Original Blessing which caused so much upset to the previous two papacies. Not so with the current one, as one can see in Pope Francis’s encyclical on saving the environment, Laudato Si.
Another way to recognize Original Blessing as a Biblical way of seeing the world, is to re-read Genesis chapter one (yes, the first page of the Bible). No mention of fall or sin or evil. Instead, the Yahwist author presents a cosmology, a story of the history of the universe where the word “good” comes up as a mantra whenever beings are birthed, including light, earth, seas, vegetation, sun, moon, stars, every kind of living creature, humans.
And at the very end and taken together and after humans arrive, the entire circle of creation is pronounced very good. The problems humans pose beginning with the story of the Fall, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel and the rest—they are saved for chapter three and following.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality Presented in Four Paths, Twenty-Six Themes, and Two Questions.
And Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth.
And Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-denominational Priest, pp. 79-82.
Banner Image: Creation is stunningly biodiverse: A Special Area of Conservation in Spain’s Caleao Telework Camp Wiews. Photo by Benigno Varillas. Wikimedia Commons.
Queries for Contemplation
Who are important mentors in your life and what followed from their mentorship?
Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality
Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
“Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story
Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth
Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.
Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest (Revised/Updated Edition)
Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.
“The unfolding story of this irrepressible spiritual revolutionary enlivens the mind and emboldens the heart — must reading for anyone interested in courage, creativity, and the future of religion.”
—Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self